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tv   Doc Film - Bearing the Burden - The Mule Women of Melilla  Deutsche Welle  April 21, 2018 4:30am-5:01am CEST

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europe. what unites. them and what divides. hakimullah it looks like driving force. what binds the continent together. the answers and stories aplenty the. spotlight on people. focused on europe on t w. i'm a southern periphery of europe men and women are the so-called mules of a lucrative trade the loads they holler cross the border are regarded as hand luggage and exempt from duty providing a business opportunity for unscrupulous traders and smugglers. who sit at the head of course it's toiling profits but you just have to keep going because you have
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your family to feed and in some of them a fourteen or fifteen years old but i'd never let my children do that. for sixteen years now nor a kook who has been toiling away as a party a daughter or female porter. and if my name is nora and i'm forty three years old i live in rented accommodation in value. i have six children and i am a widow of life as a smuggler is tough and things are getting increasingly difficult at the border.
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the whole burden rests on my shoulders when my husband was alive he paid half the rent he took the children to school and looked after us now i have to see to everything housekeeping the cooking the kids' homework i'm responsible for everything last night i made a joke i told my children i was going to leave them they burst into tears what am i going to do it's a fight for survival. million a spanish semi enclave on the mediterranean coast of north africa and has become famous in recent years through images of people scaling fences to enter but there are other reasons why this place is so singular economically a million lives from tax concessions and border traffic the proximity to morocco and that's to the african continent opens up a coveted market. after cattle fund he is a trade unionist and melia and of moroccan descent. he
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documents the exploitation of the disadvantaged and underprivileged people on the border including the mule women. when number seven are in the ownership the water i saw these women for the first time when i was seven or eight because we lived quite near the border and it was perfectly normal to see them working between million and morocco it's a form of survival because there are no jobs neither in malaya nor in morocco the only way to ensure a daily income is to join the smuggling business and carry the packages. and the porters are the final link in the smuggling chain in mali. to the smugglers and millions of euros on the border on the other side there is the government which profits from the local it's eleven. and other taxes
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a lot of profit is being made but it's not being distributed fairly the wearing on who shoulders the heaviest burden rests in the least. hollow mahmoud can we get together later and deliver food to some of the women i've arranged to meet. would four or five packets be ok. thanks a seal ater. it's early morning at the barrio cino border crossing a normal days it's open for three hours during which up to three thousand americans cross over to collect their loads for transport on this particular day the border is closed to goods traffic no reason has been given nora who is one of the few portier daughters to be let through abdul qadir
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a fundie is already expecting her. gas. i get up at three in the morning wash pray wait the children and prepare their school sandwiches and thermos flask so i lock the door and go and wait in the first queue if i know any of the police officers they let me through. a marathon mary smith a marriage when i arrive in militia i have to wait in a queue with the women normally we each carry one bale but if the galley has a view a nice i'm allowed to carry to one on my back and the other on a skateboard we are paid on delivering provided nothing was stolen and everything is intact then i get twenty euros. romani yen works for the severe police and border patrol force and malea.
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here at the interface between africa and europe the fences are getting higher and higher but they cannot stop the informal trade from monday and monitors the goods traffic on the border between spain and morocco. or on his daily patrols he comes into contact with his moroccan colleagues thought everything ok so all that as the almost we're now at the end of the border. device by their borders marked by various sections and by white signs with the designation a one goes on monica all three automakers are buddha the fences eight meters high in all the rest three fences is all made of fine mesh special wire by not in love
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or tell me that there are no jobs in morocco or any chance of social advancement the health care and education systems are both very expensive so these women come here to try and build a life. that. is part of spain but doesn't belong to the european customs union the duty free transport of goods is actually illegal but it is tolerated as long as only hand luggage is involved irrespective of the weight. doesn't belong to the european customs union there is no value added tax here just the local. i get emotionally and autonomous municipal tax which is lower than the tax rate in spain . and this bunya. for centuries melia was a spanish colony on african soil after morocco gained independence remains spanish but even today the enclave is not recognized by the kingdom of morocco. so
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the question is how much longer will smuggling three million be tolerated experts estimate the duty free trade to be worth three hundred million years a year a large proportion of which flows straight and to municipal coffers. on the sea front however there is little sign of the important trade being conducted on the border. not hunted up to their imports old clothes from europe and asia. he's a trader who like his father and grandfather before him runs one of the warehouses today its doors remain shut mohamed is furious he reckons he could lose a lot of money. program army money. the problem is that they've closed the border it's an international border and nobody knows why it has been closed we want the
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government to give us a reason. and our allies and there will be a look for giving it to us year or. so ago. we did that for not a moment of murder surely there are large profits to be made and the autonomous municipality of malea also earns from the trade we do well from the business of course that's normal but the government earns three times more from it than we do. he stores the goods a various traders in his warehouse financed with a learn from the municipality. ok i want for a second here oh there are bales here full of secondhand clothes destined for the third world. but. this is all clothing shoes skirts trousers. clothing more clothing socks trousers.
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shoes perhaps and more clothing so this is bedding my blankets even more clothing. what you see here is worth between one hundred fifty and two hundred thousand euros. there are no checks at the border to see if the bells contain any additional hidden items. who exactly makes money out of smuggled second hand goods nobody wants and how can this kind of exploitation with duty free hand luggage on european soil be justified abdo malique al back honey is spain's first muslim prefect he sees both sides to the meal women issue a practice which he tolerate but doesn't approve of. what you can to support the work of the porter goss has many affect a more of if you know money i find it in human but it's always hard and sometimes
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the cause of many problems especially health related bodies probably most probably most dissolute i personally do not like that i mean it is not good for them or for us or for the rest of the world to me but i used. to. but i always trying to lower the tax on imported goods to make them cheaper but if that happens one day goods will then be supplied straight to morocco and will not come in via. me but until that day arrives melia will continue to play an important role for the entire north african hinterland of north america. the bottleneck which separates spain from morocco. it was only a few hundred meters long the fact that the border is closed will have dire consequences especially for the mule women their hard work provides women like nora with a fluctuating income of around three hundred euros a month. to now we carry
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a lot across the border and when it's crowded and you are stuck you can't put your nose down they tell you you've just got to wait but then i get these pains which can last for up to three weeks the corps digs into you skin and leaves skulls. if it's simply too late i pray that god will take care of my children i've been suffering for as long as i can remember i was already working at the age of ten i worked for my parents and my grandmother i'm used to suffering i've worked ever since i was little if only i had a small house then everything wouldn't be so hard to take death quite a shock. the rent is
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killing me. org. the barrier cino border crossing point it's seven am there's every indication that today the border will be opened and the transport of goods will continue people are flocking here from all over. the middle men are also gathering at the border. kosovo come up to do and i've been here. yesterday afternoon i slept here and now i'm waiting to deliver my goods if the goods alight i give them to the women and they tie them to their banks as if the weight is more than sixty kilograms we give the goods to the men. near the city yet it is.
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not a l. cook who has been waiting in line for two hours now she makes a dash for it if she can get a bill quickly she'll be able to do several trips the packages the women carry off and do way more than sixty kilos today more and more men are also earning a living by transporting goods the competition is tough. both abdelkader air of fun she and roman yen are watching events each from his own perspective. of course it is not my personal responsibility to safeguard the health of the people here but it is the responsibility of the guardia civil there it is about the people from the men and the women we have to ensure that they stay physically sound you know syria africa.
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you know so many of. the men have to form one line the women another in the women are allowed through first and then the men who are from. there you know where you from. back. pocket i thought it was. just up to canberra is looking for nora she's not easy to find amidst all the commotion. and. finally he spotter. it's like a war zone. you've just got to stick at it. we will know that women these women are at great risk eating and they never went to school so most are illiterate and soon plenty going to. reassume and they don't know how they should behave so they are the ones who need help most of those it was
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from the command to the necessity. to. the carriers use special skate board so they can push their packages at him. they say they are sure of your only what is the idea came from a colleague in the guardia civil who wanted to help people in particular women to transport the heavy bales because this was handmade. you can see it's wood this wheel comes from a roller skate. the skate board helps to roll the bales uphill up or that it will be. the. distribution of the bells which can weigh as much as a washing machine gets underway nora is one of the first to collect a load. we wait here for the severe who allocators if we're lucky the women go
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first and then the men at the table. nora is out of luck the men are the first to be let through the transport process is divided up into several stages time and again it's a case of rolling pushing waiting and then returning to the friends and. look the men always come first and only. one goes on one how long have you been doing this. than you're listening even if. you are facing your face i knew also she worked for six years on the main board a poor. and then here. on the news a hermit if you know you've been working in body or chino plus another man in the north atlantic yeah that really we have here are they going to tell you she's been earning a living here with dignity for ten years you didn't i mean gave you are you.
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now it's the women's turn they are driven mike mules and have to wait repeatedly many hide their faces. they're ashamed to be seen doing this kind of work this. was it was kind of this isn't what it's more it's killing us. you can have. all the endless waiting delays transportation and heats up the general mood but the carriers seem remarkably patient. in the fire you know that you know that's about it. mohamed the trader is at the border to check that his goods really do make it across as duty free hand luggage that reports we have three who are crossing points this is an international border
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that has been closed and the official explanation is that there is a technical problem of your program tell you that they don't already know the person or these women have to earn money to buy food so if they are prevented from doing this work they will suffer i love though they already are suffering hundreds of the you know why they carry so much it wants or could have been a will because they're only allowed to cross the border once upon a sermon if they could cross it several times they'd only carry small packages weighing five kilos but the spanish authorities won't allow that for the reader. today the human mules are in luck they are allowed to cross the border several times with goods. oh yeah. another trick again i'm trying to get to him. i mean i'm not going to say the family gonna think. that they're.
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doing this round of treats will be the last of the day the atmosphere is getting heated nobody wants to be stuck with their goods so everybody tries to dodge that you. hand. the problem of the commission because he the problem with informal trading is that there are too many diverging interests. as well as you know no law simply sell you the smugglers say the border is an open long enough you see in the. us in the lobby the government says the border isn't there just for smuggling in trade. and they say look you know says he and. i think morocco and spain need to get together and talk about they have to find
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a solution otherwise nothing will change but what i don't know what was your best. move. it's not because you got. it's a question of necessity of course it is also a form of exploitation but nobody forces the men all the women to do the work i really thought i said that i was. nor i has no choice if she has to feed her children she has to haul and heave up to three hundred kilograms of goods over the border every day no matter how much her her back. haha yeah cry if the work hasn't been too tough you get home until eleven in a good mood with the thirty euros and i go shopping pay off some of my debts and make the children something to eat. so i'm glad just to be
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back at home hear him say the fact that nora always carries a photograph of her deceased husband and their children with her i mean i was working for a woman just after i had given birth she wanted to find me a job in the strawberry fields it looks like he is still alive. crikey i do my best and i have to be strong otherwise my children will suffer even if i've had a hard day i tell them i'm fine i lied to them they were way off if you. just. say that be to god helps everyone provided you do everything right life for me is tough i just have to make the best of it.
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and fundie is already on the move again he's come to this mosque to meet someone. this is. the only that little bit there is a fund financed by the countries of the european union the food industry donates pastor and milk for regions in desperate need as we have seen the crisis in spain has plunged many people into poverty we took a liking to see kirby going to. this food bank was created to help them.
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develop a sauna. as often as he can he delivers the food to women at the meeting point a million. it is. that they would. is far more the gateway to africa than to europe. but then another here the working conditions alone are totally different from those in europe we have lots of problems to cope with migration street children poverty social. and the plight of young people we have the lowest standard of education in europe and at the same time the highest unemployment figures are either there with the politicians are doing nothing to improve the situation all they are interested in is obtaining more aid so they can fill their pockets or do that but out of our. somewhat equal
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hello how are you right come with me then what about the toll woman where is she. there was it what is it over there they wouldn't let her across the border. that's fate you're right. there you are abduct her dad distributes packages of food to the mule women many of them are dependent on the donations. of fifty miles i feel bad because many have waited in vain i don't have enough food. how do you think i feel. let's hope we can work again on monday. it remains to be seen whether the border will be opened again on monday what is certain is that at five o'clock tomorrow morning norah who will again be standing
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by the fence and enter the inhuman working conditions on europe's outer border is nowhere in sight a brutal form of exploitation in europe but for nora it is her livelihood.
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